“As is often the case when Black, Indigenous, and people of color gain power, attacks on Ethnic Studies have plagued the discipline since its earliest days. Today’s fight to maintain the integrity of the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum is the next phase of the fight to defend Ethnic Studies.” – Angela Davis
The California Department of Education has just released its fourth revision to the California Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC). Rather than bringing the curriculum closer to fidelity with Ethnic Studies as a discipline, the changes in the most recent draft are even farther from the core principles of Ethnic Studies and were shaped by predominantly white, pro-apartheid Israel, rightwing interest groups and by non-Ethnic Studies scholars.
This curriculum does not meet the mandate of Assembly Bill 2016. AB 2016 promised Californians an Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum developed by experts. As the California Teachers Association (CTA) and other experts have affirmed, the draft is based on a multicultural perspective tied to the Eurocentric History Social Studies Framework. And throughout the revision process, the CDE refused follow the lead of Ethnic Studies practitioners, and instead caved to racist attacks.
The draft is so deficient that the entire advisory committee and the designated writers of the original curriculum demanded that their names be removed from the document. Take action today to echo their demands!
State Superintendent of Instruction Tony Thurmond and the CDE watered down Ethnic Studies principles and pedagogy, included erroneous information about Ethnic Studies, deleted Arab American Studies from Asian American Studies and relegated it to an appendix, and erased Palestine from the curriculum. Send a letter to CDE and SBE to register your objections here.
Now it is in the hands of the State Board of Education. They will be meeting next week to deliberate these latest revisions and approve a final draft. Join us by submitting a public comment through this one-click petition, and urge the State Board of Education not to move forward with voting on this curriculum until the California Department of Education:
- Re-inserts an Arab American lesson plan, including Palestine, within the Asian American Studies section of the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum, with content and pedagogy developed by Arab American educators and true to the discipline of Ethnic Studies.
- Restores the original key Ethnic Studies concepts, guiding values and principles which make Ethnic Studies the academic discipline it is today.
- Re-insert the key terms and definitions aligned with Ethnic Studies scholarship and pedagogy and correct erroneous information about Ethnic Studies.
It is outrageous that in a state where 76% of the students are of color, white rightwing interest groups can still determine that California students can’t learn their history. If CDE moves forward with this, the future of anti-racist education across the US is at stake.